NEW DELHI: Google which registered less than 0.1 per cent market share in the Indian premium smartphone segment in the second quarter this year, ditched the country on Tuesday, announcing that the newly-launched Pixel 4 and XL will not be available in India.
The reason behind Google's flagships not launching in India is said to be the Soli radar chip in it that uses the 60Ghz spectrum. This frequency is not allowed for commercial players in India.
In a statement, the company said that it has decided not to make Pixel 4 available in the country. "We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India," a Google spokesperson said.
Google introduced the new Pixel 4, 4 XL, Pixelbook Go, Pixel Earbuds and Nest Mini during its annual hardware event in New York on Tuesday. The Google Pixel 4 comes with a starting price tag of USD 799 and Pixel 4 XL for USD 899. The phones will be shipped on October 24 globally, excluding India.
"Google has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features," added the Google spokesperson.
Billed as the "best Android phones you can buy," Google Pixel devices have failed to impress Indian users and the reason is pretty obvious: Poor go-to-marketing strategy.
According to Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at Counterpoint Research, India still remains an attractive market which Google needs to keep a close eye on. "Premium segment is growing at a much faster rate than the overall market and this is, in fact, a right time to scale operations in India. Maybe Google will look at other SKUs for India market going forward like Pixel 3a," Pathak told IANS.
For the pixel lovers in the country, the announcement has brought sad news right before Diwali. According to Counterpoint, the Internet giant's channel strategy stunted the growth of Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL. "While one could always debate about the Pixel 3 price upgrade as compared to its Pixel 2 series (USD 150 more) vis-a-vis spec upgrade, it was the channel strategy which constrained the growth of Pixel 3," said Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint.
The tech giant has admitted that it sold fewer Pixel phones owing to industry-wide pressure on high-end smartphones.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR), the smartphone camera experience is something that consumers rank high, and care about enough to upgrade to a new smartphone. "This is where Google Pixel with its best-in-class camera capabilities has an advantage. Where the Pixel has faltered is in getting its pricing and go-to-marketing strategy right," said Ram.